Super Tuesday’s primary contests are receding rapidly in the rear-view mirror and November’s presidential contest is starting to take shape. Now maybe – just maybe – the candidates will start taking on real issues and not just each other.
Tomorrow morning, the remaining hopefuls will get the chance – if they choose to take it – to address something substantial: what they would do about the economy, if they were elected. It’s the first Friday of the month, and the Department of Labor will release another set of monthly jobs data. This time around, economists are predicting that employers created 175,000 new jobs during February.
Why is this important enough for Trump, Clinton or Sanders to interrupt their usual rhetoric, and switch gears? Because the economy matters, and jobs matter. And even if the headline numbers look great, the day-to-day reality for many Americans is anything but. Wage growth is anemic. College students graduate, burdened with debt and unable to find jobs, while their parents face layoffs or pressure to accept salary cuts or give back pensions or other benefits.
It’s that stark contrast between the political leaders that characterized the post-2008 recovery, and the way many Americans have experienced it in their daily lives that has fueled the anger that has made Trump’s campaign so successful, and made Bernie Sanders such a threat to Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency. Many Americans are mad as hell about the economic state of affairs, and they’re not going to take it any longer.
“If everything is as great as the economists tell us, then why are so many voters flocking to the relatively extremist candidates who seem to be tapping into feelings that conditions aren’t that great?” wonders Mike Bazdarich, an economist at Western Asset Management in Pasadena, California.
He sees “plenty of reasons” to be skeptical of the jobs data, noting that a large bloc of Americans simply have given up on looking for work altogether. That means the unemployment rate could well be artificially low, and it makes the question of how to stimulate economic growth – and create those much-needed jobs – all the more crucial.
via The Guardian